A special meeting of the Alabama Ethics Commission has been called for Thursday, Sept. 1.
While the commission regularly meets every 60 days, and is scheduled to meet again in October, the special meeting was called to process a backlog of requests for advisory opinions “on a range of issues,” Ethics Commission Executive Director Tom Albritton told Alabama Today.
“I’m not aware of any direct connection between the number of opinions we have pending and the former speaker’s trial, but the commission does not want to delay the resolution of the issues until October,” Albritton explained. “We want to make our opinions process as reasonable as we can and give timely a response to those who have asked for guidance on these issues. Moreover, it is our desire to take some of the pressure off our October meeting.”
The Ethics Commission, established by the Legislature in 1973, is the state agency responsible for monitoring the ethical behavior of approximately 200,000 public officials and employees at the municipal, county, and state levels. Formal advisory opinions are approved by all five members of the commission — all of whom are nominated jointly by the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the Alabama House, and are confirmed by the state Senate — are published to public and provide protection from prosecution if appropriately followed.